As noose tightens on Rhea, Mamta Kulkarni seeks clean chit in global drug racket scandal

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BY DEEPAK SHARMA
New Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS)
At a time when the noose is tightening on actress Rhea Chakraborty in a much-talked-about drugs case, controversial Bollywood actress Mamta Kulkarni, wife of narco kingpin Vicky Goswami, is seeking a clean chit in a Rs 2000-crore international drug cartel scandal. Kulkarni has been named a co-accused along with Nairobi-based drug lord Goswami, in a case registered by Thane police under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act which relates to manufacture of drugs such as ephedrine and mandrax.
Last week, a division bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justice Rohinton F. Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha directed the Bombay High Court to expeditiously take up the case of actress Kulkarni, who had filed a petition for quashing of FIR registered against her. She had been living in Nairobi with Goswami, who was arrested and extradited to the US by its Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA).Last year, the DEA filed a report in Southern District Court of New York on July 25 in which it mentioned the name of Dawood Ibrahim aide Vicky Goswami, husband of Bollywood actress Mamta Kulkarni and Ali Punjani, ex-husband of another Bollywood star Kim Sharma.
Sources said that Vicky Goswami, a small time bootlegger in Ahmedabad, introduced ‘mandrax’ to Bollywood parties in the 1990s. Once Dawood Ibrahim escaped to Karachi in 1993, the drug cartels in India’s crime and financial capital were handled by Goswami on behalf of the D-company. Gradually, heroin, cocaine, and curated marijuana was also being smuggled into the party circuit. Later, Goswami got close to Mamta Kulkarni, and reportedly married her. The couple migrated to South Africa and later to Kenya from where they remote controlled the drug cartels in India.
A 2016 report of Thane police, investigating a case relating to the supply of party drugs to Kenya, reveals that Dawood aide Vicky Goswami, husband of Mamta Kulkarni, was sentenced by a Dubai court on charges of peddling drugs. In 2013, after being released from prison, Goswami shifted base to Kenya where he came in contact with Ali Punjani. The report says that Goswami also approached one Indian Dr Bipin Panchal. In Mombasa, a meeting was held between Dr Panchal and Goswami in which Dr Panchal assured Goswami he will arrange supply of ephedrine from a pharmaceutical company in India. The consignment would then be taken to Uganda where it would be turned into methamphetamine, a party drug.
Reacting to Mamta Kulkarni’s efforts to seek a clean chit in an international drug scandal originating from Thane, well-known Supreme Court advocate Ajay Agarwal told IANS that at a time when country’s top investigative agencies are focusing on the Bollywood-drug cartel nexus, inaction or a clean chit to Kulkarni would sent out the wrong message to the country. “I would oppose quashing Mamta’s FIR, as she was involved with her husband in global drug trafficking. Goswami is a drug lord. He worked for Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan. He also worked with other members of the global drug mafia. Law enforcing agencies should deeply investigate the role of Goswami and Kulkarni in drug smuggling which has affected our film Industry. Sushant Singh Rajput’s mysterious death is the most glaring example of the drug usage scenario in the film Industry,” said Agarwal.

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